MLB Investigates Ex-Angel in Ohtani-Linked Betting Scandal

Probe extends to former Angel David Fletcher in betting controversy

by Abdullah Magsi
MLB Investigates Ex-Angel in Ohtani-Linked Betting Scandal
© Harry How/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is deepening its investigation into the betting scandal involving Shohei Ohtani's interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara. Former Angels player David Fletcher, now in the Atlanta Braves' minor league system, is under scrutiny for allegedly placing bets through the same bookie as Mizuhara.

While Fletcher's gambling does not directly implicate Ohtani, it casts doubt on Ohtani's claims of ignorance regarding Mizuhara's activities. Fletcher played with Ohtani on the Angels from 2018 to 2023, a period during which Mizuhara allegedly gambled with bookie Mathew Bowyer.

Reports suggest Fletcher introduced Mizuhara to Bowyer, adding a layer of complexity to the situation. Further complicating matters is Fletcher’s connection to Colby Schultz, a former minor leaguer who also allegedly placed bets with Bowyer, including on games in which Fletcher played.

This association raises serious concerns for MLB. Although Fletcher is not accused of betting on baseball, his involvement with an illegal bookie in other sports is a violation of MLB's strict gambling policies. The investigation's outcome could result in disciplinary actions, though a lifetime ban appears unlikely since the allegations do not involve betting on baseball.

Speculation and Connections

The close relationship between Fletcher and Ohtani during their tenure with the Angels fuels speculation about Ohtani's knowledge of Mizuhara's gambling. Ohtani has consistently denied any awareness of Mizuhara's activities, including the financial losses incurred from his gambling.

However, Fletcher's alleged involvement complicates Ohtani’s narrative, suggesting he may have been aware of the situation. The MLB investigation is primarily focused on Fletcher's actions, but the strong connections between Fletcher, Ohtani, and other potential players cannot be overlooked.

Commissioner Rob Manfred's office is likely aware that this scandal will attract significant attention, potentially overshadowing the ongoing baseball season and its marquee events. Key to unraveling this tangled web is Colby Schultz.

Though not a prominent name, Schultz's alleged role in facilitating bets and his connection to Fletcher provide critical insights. Schultz and Fletcher’s shared background in Orange County, where the Angels play, further intertwines their stories with Mizuhara’s actions.

As MLB continues its probe, the situation remains fluid, with many questions still unanswered. The investigation's findings could significantly impact several careers and the league's integrity.